Comfort food that won’t kill you.
I just randomly picked some photos from my ever-increasing ‘blog’ file, and realized afterward that everything I picked was comfort food. Maybe everything I cook is comfort food. Maybe I’ve just had a really bad week and would like one of these scones to make me feel better.
This is a blueberry lavender scone and I want to roll around in a pile of them today. A really rad lady from our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada, sent me some (a lot, actually! thanks, Robynn!) dried lavender in exchange for a jar of the peach butter I canned this past summer. I’ve been wistfully wanting some lavender for baking lately, but can’t find it anywhere locally. See, this one time I worked at a ‘fancy’ restaurant in my hometown and they made lavender creme brulee as a dessert, and it was the most heavenly thing I’ve ever tasted. I had no idea that you could cook with lavender. The flavor is so light and delicate and just plain delicious. Obviously, I’m not going to try to veganize creme brulee (I’d rather chop off my hand), so when I came across a variation on the scone recipe in Vegan Brunch that utilized lavender combined with berries…well! It had to be done. And I’m glad for it. Because it was wonderful. The flavor combination was so good that I made a batch of lavender blueberry muffins to sell at our local Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale this year. And they were a hit, I don’t mind telling you.
Once I get scones on my mind, it’s hard to get them off. I’ve been wanting to make the tomato rosemary scones from the same book since before it even came out, and I just got around to doing it a couple of weeks ago. I’ll admit, the texture of these isn’t very scone-like (not dense, but fluffy, not flakey, but moist), but they are freaking heavenly. The omnivore boyfriend practically ate the whole batch, and that is really unusual. They were a bitch to make (sticky sticky dough makes me hate life), but most absolutely worth the effort. And they’re great with soup.
This is the Bistro Broccoli Chowder from Appetite for Reduction. I’m an idiot and forgot to buy parsnips to put in it, so you can see from the orange flecks that I was forced to use carrots. They were ok, but sort of like getting a preview of something really awesome (parsnips just have such a stronger flavor). So I wasn’t thrilled with this soup, but that was my own fault. It was still tasty enough and soup is always a comfort to me, so I didn’t throw it out or anything. The omnivore boyfriend loved it, though. I had to practically hide my lunches from him that week. Next time I’ll make a double batch!
Everything tastes better in a pita. It’s science. Little hand-held pockets, cradling your delicious filling of choice. Rarely a huge mess (if you get a quality pita…I’ve found these wonderful multigrain ones that make me very happy) like sandwiches can be. And damn, they hold a lot of food. I got to really pile it on with the Curry Mango Tempeh Salad from Vegan with a Vengeance. I wasn’t sure I’d be thrilled with the stuff after I first made it, but after a night in the fridge, it just got spectacular. Magic happened. Sweet, tangy, spicy, hearty, and it paired really well with a little arugula. It was filling enough on its own so that I could eat it on my way out the door, but it also went nicely with a bowl of the broccoli chowder for a sit-down lunch. I’m pretty sure I just convinced myself to make more this week. Damn, I’m persuasive.
If I had a bunch of money with which to buy shiitake mushrooms all the time, I’d make this Shiitake Dill Frittata from Vegan Brunch twice a week until I got sick of it. Luckily, I guess, I don’t have that luxury, because I never want to get sick of this. And I totally found shiitakes on sale the day I went shopping for this, so mega-score. Dill is my second favorite herb behind basil. It is wonderful wonderful wonderful. It tastes like spring and freshness and misty rains and bright sunshine all at once. Combining that with the earthy mushrooms, this frittata knocked my socks off.
And, since this frittata is basically just a fancy baked version of a tofu scramble, I made a tofu scramble with the exact same ingredients (the leftover bits) in half the time the next day.
Believe me, it tasted just as good when it was less pretty. So this is the version you make for yourself on a Tuesday morning. Save the fancy presentation (like mine was fancy, ha!) for your mom on Sunday. The frittata (and the subsequent scramble) went really nicely with the Herby Whole Wheat Biscuits, also from Vegan Brunch.
Yeah, these would be great with a mildly flavored gravy. The biscuits themselves pack quite a punch of flavor (ok, they might have been overkill with that frittata, but I still loved them together), so some sort of plain gravy would be best. And these biscuits were great on their own, with that crumbly biscuit texture that makes a giant mess that I love so much. I just remembered that I have two of these left in my freezer and I’m going to eat them for breakfast when I’m done writing this. Score.
Grits! I love grits. They’re one of those things that probably a lot of people I know don’t like because they grew up eating them, but not me. I had never had grits in my life until about 2 years ago. And I’m hooked. Savory breakfast? Um, totally my style! Add some heat, like these Jalapeno Garlic Grits (still from VB), and you’ve achieved perfection. As you can see, I ate a giant mound of these (for dinner) with a pile of collard greens, dressed with dijon mustard and capers. So incredibly simple, but mind meltingly delicious. I even tweaked the recipe so that it was a one pot dish for the grits, which made it even easier and therefore twice as tasty. Again, folks, science.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Tempeh Helper from Appetite for Reduction. I’ve never had Hamburger Helper, which is what this is based on, but that doesn’t matter. This is pasta, and it’s got creamy cheezy sauce on it, and loads of well seasoned tempeh. You really don’t need to tell me any more about it, because those are all things I love! The omnivore boyfriend wasn’t really a fan, but I think he just doesn’t like tempeh (yet). I could have eaten it (and, ok, i did) for 3 meals straight. And after figuring out that I could make my own broth powder (since i can’t find it here), it was the easiest thing in the world. I mixed up the dry bits for the tempeh seasoning and the cheezy sauce before I went to yoga, then came home and just…assembled it, really. I guess that’s the draw of those ‘instant’ meals like Hamburger Helper. Busy people can just throw them together, but they’re still a hearty and tasty dinner. Well, this is all those things without the cruelty and cholesterol. Win!
Also, since then I have become a huge fan of the cheezy sauce and I want to put it on everything. You’ll see more of it in the next post!